“Ethiopia 🇪🇹 ~Scenic Bahir Dar to Gondar”

Day 2: (Jan 7) Ethiopia 🇪🇹 Cultural Tour
Bahir Dar, Gondar
….After breakfast, drive about 111 miles to Gondar; known as the “Camelot” of Africa….much more on this ancient city, tomorrow!

Nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking Semien Mountains National Park, in the northwestern part of the country, is Gondar; the 17th and 18th century capital city of Ethiopia, which was founded by Emperors Fasiladas (1632 – 1667) was home to a number of emperors, warlords, curtsies and kings, who built several Castles and Palaces around the area.
Overnight ~Gondar
Haze Hotel

….As we drove from Bahir Dar to Gondar, we enjoyed the scenic country landscape, with a few villages in between. During the drive, we stopped to take a photo of a natural rock formation the locals call “Gods Finger.” Today is the Ethiopian Christmas Day, so we saw many groups of locals gathering in the fields near their homes to gather and socialise. The dress on Christmas Day, for many is a white outfit with a red strip, or red edging.

Given our rough night of so little sleep, and lack of food on our first night, we switched up the itinerary a little, to accommodate an early arrival to our hotel in Gondar, where we could relax, and catch up on some food and sleep. I also took time to add historical information to day one of our very full first day of site-seeing. Everything that was on our agenda for today, we can do in the morning. That, and the fact we opted out of another hike; this time in the Semien Mountains. We have arrived in these mountains. We like the new plan, and don’t feel like we will miss anything. We appreciate our guide and driver, and their ability to be flexible, and coming up with a plan B that works.

Daryl did good on the sleep thing, after we arrived at the hotel in Gondar, but I always have work to do, if there is any down-time at all. I bought plane fare for getting us out of Ethiopia and on to Egypt and around Egypt, for when we leave Ethiopia at the end of the month, so that’s progress for me.

I did not take a lot of photos today, as it was mostly wide open farmlands with the occasional cart and donkey, or young boy herding his cows. I was told a story, by our guide, who is from Gondar, as we entered the small city…Gondar got its name from a friend telling another friend where he could spend the night; since it got dark and he was tired from traveling…the friend said go just a little further over that way– “Go not Far” or “Go Yonder” he said, so the name became Gondar

“Gods Finger”
Rocky outcrop between Bahir Dar, and Gondar; Amhara Region, Ethiopia
Day 2: (Jan 7) Ethiopia 🇪🇹 Cultural Tour
Bahir Dar, Gondar
….After breakfast, drive about 111 miles to Gondar; known as the “Camelot” of Africa….much more on this ancient city, tomorrow!
Nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking Semien Mountains National Park, in the northwestern part of the country, is Gondar; the 17th and 18th century capital city of Ethiopia, which was founded by Emperors Fasiladas (1632 – 1667) was home to a number of emperors, warlords, curtsies and kings, who built several Castles and Palaces around the area.
Overnight ~Gondar
Haze Hotel
….As we drove from Bahir Dar to Gondar, we enjoyed the scenic country landscape, with a few villages in between. During the drive, we stopped to take a photo of a natural rock formation the locals call “Gods Finger.” Today is the Ethiopian Christmas Day, so we saw many groups of locals gathering in the fields near their homes to gather and socialise. The dress on Christmas Day, for many is a white outfit with a red strip, or red edging.
Given our rough night of so little sleep, and lack of food on our first night, we switched up the itinerary a little, to accommodate an early arrival to our hotel in Gondar, where we could relax, and catch up on some food and sleep. I also took time to add historical information to day one of our very full first day of site-seeing. Everything that was on our agenda for today, we can do in the morning. That, and the fact we opted out of another hike; this time in the Semien Mountains. We have arrived in these mountains. We like the new plan, and don’t feel like we will miss anything. We appreciate our guide and driver, and their ability to be flexible, and coming up with a plan B that works.
Daryl did good on the sleep thing, after we arrived at the hotel in Gondar, but I always have work to do, if there is any down-time at all. I bought plane fare for getting us out of Ethiopia and on to Egypt and around Egypt, for when we leave Ethiopia at the end of the month, so that’s progress for me.
I did not take a lot of photos today, as it was mostly wide open farmlands with the occasional cart and donkey, or young boy herding his cows. I was told a story, by our guide, who is from Gondar, as we entered the small city…Gondar got its name from a friend telling another friend where he could spend the night; since it got dark and he was tired from traveling…the friend said go just a little further over that way– “Go not Far” or “Go Yonder” he said, so the name became Gondar.
As we arrived in Gondar, we went by the ancient fort, so we look forward to visiting the ancient sites around this area, tomorrow.

“Ethiopia 🇪🇹 ~Fasilides Bath in Gondar”

Beyond the confines of the city to the north-west is another fine monument accredited to Fasiladas; a bathing palace…..Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fasilides Bath or Swimming Pool is a two-storied battlemented building placed within a rectangular pool. Water is supplied by a canal from the nearby river, but is kept empty except during Timket; the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo celebration of Epiphany.

The bathing pavilion itself stands on pier arches, and contains several rooms, which are reached by a stone bridge, part of which could be raised for defense

Fasilides, also known as Fasil  or Basilide, was emperor of Ethiopia from 1632 to 1667, and a member of the Solomonic Dynadty. His throne name was Alan Sagad meaning “to whom the world bows”. He was the son of Emperor Susenyos and Empress Sultana Mogesa (Wolete Saala) of Wagda Katata and Merhabete.
Emperor Fasilides paternal grandfather’s name was also Fasilides
Day 3: Jan 8 Gondar, Ethiopia
After touring the grounds of Fasilides Castles and Palaces, it was time for a coffee and tea break, and watch the goings on around us… it’s never dull in Ethiopia 🇪🇹
Not far from the Castle Palaces, we visited the coolest old Baths called the Fasilidas’s Pool, which it is still used for Timket celebrations today.

UPDATE….when we visited Gondar, back in the first few days of our tour, we visited this ancient bath. Workers were cleaning the pool, preparing to fill it with water. They we also building stadium seating out of bamboo for the huge crowds expected for the recent Timkat Orthodox Holiday celebration (1/19-1/21/20)

Sadly there was a tragedy, yesterday during the mass baptism of yesterday….
At Least-10-People-Dead-in-Gondar-During-Epiphany-Celebrations 1/2020

“Ethiopia 🇪🇹 ~Fasilides Portuguese Castles in Gondar”

Day 3: (Jan 8) Ethiopia 🇪🇹 20-Dat Cultural Tour

After breakfast, enjoy visiting the oldest and the most impressive Gonderine structure; the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings; including the Royal Bath…

Dubbed the Camelot of Africa, the city of Gondar; the ancient capital of Ethiopia from 1636 until the mid 19th century, combines a modern veneer with an architectural sensibility harking back to the Middle Ages
The city’s physical and architectural centrepiece is Fasil Ghebbi, a stone-walled Royal Compound containing half a dozen fairytale castles, including the three-storey original built by Emperor Fasil in the 1630s
Until the seventeenth century, Ethiopia had no capital, as the empire’s rules moved about their territory, living in tents in “mobile” royal camps. Their food was supplied by farmers around the camp.
The history of Gondar City begins In 1636, when Emperor Fasilides ended the tradition by decreeing Gondar the Ethiopia’s capital and started building a walled-enclosure around his castle. It became the palace compound for half a dozen different palace residences, three churches and support buildings.
Most famous are the Gondar castles of Ethiopia, that are located in this large walled compound. These were the residences of Ethiopia’s government from the seventeenth to the first half of the nineteenth centuries; now being part of the Gondar UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The long battlemented wall of the palaces compound include turrets, 12 gates and three bridges which protected the different castles, palaces and churches for the changing royalties over time. Today one finds within the premises of this curtain wall: Fasilides Castle – or Enqulal Gemb (Egg Castle, for its egg-shaped domed roofs on the towers)-, Iyasu’s Castle, Dawit’s Hall, Bekaffa’s Banqueting Hall, stables, a sauna, Mentewab’s Castle, the Library and Chancellery of Yohannes I, as well as the Asasame Qeddus Mikael Church, Elfin Giyorgis church and Gemjabet Mariyam Church.
Depending on the building, the architectural designs reflect Arabian, Indian, and Baroque influences in addition to Ethiopian Axumite and Lake Tana styles and architectural traditions. With their curtain walls, huge castles with looming battlemented walls and towers, Fasil Ghebbi and Kuskuam seems like a piece of medieval Europe transplanted into Ethiopia.
By decree of Emperor Yohannes I, the people of Gondar were segregated by religion and status into different neighborhoods, which can still be recognized today; the Muslims had to live in Addis Alem; the Ethiopian Jewish people in Kayla Meda; in Abun Bet lived the clerics of the Ethiopian Church and in Qagn Bet, the nobility. In 1887, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad and the next year Sudanese invaders viciously attacked Gondar, setting fire to all the city’s churches but one; Debre Berhan Selassie Church.
During the occupation by Italy from 1936 – 1943, the Italians used the Royal Enclosure; Fasil Ghebbi, as their headquarters, while developing some parts of the city for officials and colonists, which can still be recognized by the Italian design of their buildings. During the liberation by the British, several castles were bombed and severely damaged.
After its decline in the 19th century, the city of Gondar continued to be a commercial and transport hub for northwest Ethiopia. With a population of more than 200,000 inhabitants, Gondar is growing rapidly due to fast urbanization, like all other cities in Ethiopia. The majority of the inhabitants of Gondar are Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, 2% Muslims and 1.5% Protestants. The Ethiopian Jews have been airlifted to Israel in the early 1990s. The city is home to the University of Gondar, which includes Ethiopia’s principle faculty of medicine.